It would not be a stretch to say that support staff at hosp security guards and cleaners are among the unsung heroes at hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sivapackiam Shanmugam, 46, is one of them.

New Straits Times (NST) spoke to the mother of three who works as a security guard at the Sungai Buloh Hospital, which has become "ground zero" to treat COVID-19 patients.

On a typical working day, Sivapackiam is on her feet for hours on end, walking around the hospital's wards to ensure that only authorised people are allowed in the hospitals, and that visitors are abiding by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set.

Prior to her stint at the hospital, the Sungai Buloh native worked as a grass cutter at the Kelab Rahman Putra Golf & Country Club, together with her husband, for 27 years.

Her current job involves working on 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, rotated among over 50 security guards posted at the hospital by the company she works for.

"Some may think that such a job is easy but in reality, it is not, as this is a government hospital and not a warehouse or building. There are all sorts of people who come in and out, every day.

"It is our duty to make sure that only those who have valid reason are allowed to enter and be here, such as those who work here or patients who require medical attention," she was quoted telling the daily.

Among others, Sivapackiam's job includes ensuring that members of the public at the hospital are following all the necessary rules and SOPs set, such as wearing face masks, sanitising their hands, taking their body temperature readings, observe physical distancing rules, and scanning the MySejahtera app.

Despite the long hours and the challenging scope, Sivapackiam said that she "loves her job".

"The role we play as security guards may go unnoticed, but we take pride in what we do because we are contributing towards the hospital being able to function, receive and treat so many patients every day," she said, adding that she is glad to help the frontliners at the hospital who have been tirelessly working during the pandemic, in any way she can.

At the end of her workday, Sivapackiam takes the necessary precautions when getting home, so as to not risk her family to COVID-19 infection.

This especially as her husband is a kidney patient and is unable to work.

As such, Sivapackiam has taken over the breadwinner's role, eventhough she herself suffers from thyroid issues and back problems.

Loving her job and having good colleagues motivates her to go to work daily, she said.

Seeing how the health system is overburdened with COVID-19 cases and frontliners are working hard to contain the situation, Sivapackiam has only one request for Malaysians: "please adhere to the SOPs set."

"If people could see, hear and experience what I have here at the hospital since the pandemic broke early last year, I'm sure everyone will abide by the rules and do whatever it takes to get rid of the virus once and for all,"

Kudos and thank you Sivapackiam for your contributions so far. Keep up your good job and stay safe.

Source & Photos source: NST